55 and hitting my stride….

Today has been a wonderful day…..my 55th birthday! Before 7:00a.m. I had already received 5 phone calls with birthday wishes. There were a half dozen cards, numerous posts on my Facebook wall, and several impromptu renditions of “Happy Birthday to You.”

One of the best greetings I received today was this: “This is the day that the Lord hath made….YOU!” What a delightful twist on a familiar scripture! (Psalm 118:24)

There are moments that I feel, well, over the hill. But on days like today I feel that this is the best time of my life.

Two days ago I had the opportunity to share several hours of drive time with a 75-year-young friend as we traveled to a workshop on Aging and Ministry. She is an absolute inspiration! As we talked about getting, ahem, “older”, she told me this story. It seems her grandson came to her some time ago and said, “Grandma are you old?” She said that she was fairly certain that this grandson had heard his own mother refer to her, the grandmother, as “old”. So, she said, “Well, let me think about that for just a minute.” She feigned her best thinking-cap posture and waited briefly, then said to him, in very conspiratorial fashion, “You know, I’m not old, I have just lived a lot of years!” Later she heard him tell his own mother that Grandma is not old, she’s just lived a lot of years!

As she and I laughed and talked about the essence of aging, she gave me some real pearls. One is that gratitude is the oil that makes aging soft and supple. Another is her observation that people who are stingy, mean spirited, and disengaged in life in their elder years were probably also that way in their youth. She said she does not waste time fretting about things that are lost, gone, or past. Instead, like the Apostle Paul she strains forward toward the things that are ahead of her.

What a special blessing and birthday gift it was to me, to spend time with this wonderful Christian woman, twenty years my senior, who gave me the gift of a glimpse at what my own seventh decade can look like! May I have even a fraction of the beauty and grace she has as I follow in her steps!